Inconceivable!

Not the quote from the Princess Bride, but just the mind blowingly large numbers I stumbled across today. I’m not sure how this happened, I was reading one thing, clicked a link, followed a trail, meandered down a path and before you know it, I’m reading some strange stuff from who knows where? 

Anyway, it led me to the study of large numbers. A quadrillion. Something I read made me think, “will there be a quadrillionaire in my lifetime?” And so the Google search began. 

The thing is, it’s hard to understand these numbers. We all know millionaire. A thousand thousands. So, 1,000 piles of 1,000 dollars. That’s 1 million. A billion is a thousand millions. So take the pile you conjured in the first example and create a thousand of those piles….that’s one billion dollars. It’s a staggering amount of money. 

The thing is, a TRILLION dollars? That is then 1,000 billions. 

1,000,000,000,000

That is one trillion. 1 with 12 zeros. But an article I read from The Independent explains it by saying that if you spent a million dollars every single day, it would take you 2,739 years to spend your trillion dollars. Obviously you won’t live that long. So, if you are born with exactly 1 trillion dollars, and you live exactly 80 years, by my calculations, you would need to spend 34,246,575 million dollars each day to spend it all. I really don’t think that’s even possible. I mean, are there enough things? Enough land? Enough houses? How could a person spend over 34 million dollars every single day for eighty years. I don’t think they could. So it is probably impossible, certainly inconceivable, for a person to have that much money. 

Here’s another one. If you had exactly 1 trillion dollars, you could give $140 to every person on the planet, this, again, according to the article above. When I saw that I was fairly underwhelmed. I mean, sure, there are more than 7 billion people on the planet, but still, to give out a measly $140 bucks? Yeah, okay, it’s a nice gesture to give money to everyone, and for third worlders, this could literally be life changing. But, my mind went elsewhere. I assumed, correctly, that it did not divide evenly. Assuming a population of 7,254,897,321 (which is what it was on the World Population Clock at 3:21 pm when I looked it up and if you’ve never seen the WPC, click that link. It’s cool.) that means to give out money to everyone, you can equally give $137.80 to each person. (Population has gone up since the article, which was based on 2012 figures).  Even that doesn’t divide evenly, coming out to 137.83792599, which I rounded to $137.80. Because when you’re giving out a trillion, you don’t want to be the one counting pennies. Here’s the amazing thing. 

Those trailing numbers? They are less than a few cents per person. Negligible. Almost non-existent. Yet, when doing the math, If you gave 137.80 to each person on earth, out of your 1 trillion dollars, you would be left with….

$275,149,166

That’s right. If you gave out 137.80 to every person on earth, you’d still be LEFT WITH over 275 million dollars. 

Mind blown. 

For additional fun facts, remember how I was originally searching a quadrillion? Well, a quadrillion is 1,000 trillions. We’ve amply covered how much money a trillion is…this is one thousand times that amount. So, if you spent your million dollars a day? It would take you 3 million years to spend a quadrillion. 

I found an article from Wired magazine that predicted that Bill Gates would be the world’s first trillionaire and the world’s first quadrillionaire, and says both would happen in my lifetime. The article was written in 1999 and said that Gates would hit trillionaire in March of 2005. And would then become a quadrillionaire by 2020 (assuming the same rate of return). Well, the first date has passed and BG is not yet a trillionaire. So the second, six years from now, is looking like a long shot. There were other scenarios, if Microsoft went in other financial directions, that led to different dates, many of which have not yet come to pass. Honestly, I don’t think it’s likely to happen in my lifetime. BG is estimated to be worth about $80 Billion. Unfortunately, that’s still 920 Billion short of the trillionaire mark. Yes, I know money grows exponentially, but still – seems to me that we’re a long way off from seeing someone calling themselves a trillionaire. 

I’m just still agog over the numbers themselves. It is nearly inconceivable that one person should have that much money. And I may have scoffed, but I wouldn’t turn down my $137.80. Just sayin’

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Inconceivable!

    • Thanks! I thought it was super interesting, too. I can’t either. But, boy, just a small piece of it would be nice, right?

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